Commerce Tees Up Vietnamese Honey For Retroactive Duties

16/01/2022 11:37 - 3 Views

Raw honey exports from Vietnam flooded the domestic market in "massive" quantities in the months leading up to and following Commerce's preliminary anti-dumping determination, the agency said in a report published in the Federal Register on Thursday.


The ruling tees up the Vietnamese products for retroactive anti-dumping duties, pending confirmation from the International Trade Commission and the final outcome of the dumping investigation.


"Record evidence indicates that importers of raw honey from Vietnam knew, or should have known, that exporters were selling the merchandise at [less than fair value], and that there was likely to be material injury by reason of such sales," Commerce said. "In addition, we have found that … the eligible separate rate respondent companies in Vietnam, and the 'Vietnam-wide entity' had massive imports during a relatively short period."


The determination comes as an investigation into raw honey produced in Vietnam, as well as Argentina, Brazil, India and Ukraine, is underway. It was launched in April by a coalition of U.S. raw honey producers that linked rising raw honey imports with declining domestic profits and lost revenue for members.


Commerce tagged Ban Me Thuot Honey Bee Joint Stock Co. and Dak Lak Honey Bee Joint Stock Co. and all other Vietnamese producers with steep preliminary margins between 410.93% and 413.99% in November.


Shipments from the two named producers jumped more than 15% in the period between May and November as compared with the preceding seven months, Commerce noted in the Thursday report. According to the domestic coalition, the country's volume of imports jumped 90% between May and September, much higher than the agency's 15% threshold for what constitutes a "massive" leap.


In that same period, Vietnamese dumping margins exceeded 25% and importers should have been on notice that the shipments were harming the U.S. margin, meeting requirements for a "critical circumstances" finding, according to Commerce.


Alan Luberda of Kelley Drye & Warren LLP, counsel to the domestic producers, told Law360 he's pleased with the decision to preserve fair pricing for domestic companies.


"[This ruling] will make sure that this is taken seriously," Luberda said. "The Vietnamese importers who brought in Vietnamese honey clearly didn't take [the investigation] seriously, and they were rushing in a large volume … over 30 million pounds during that critical circumstances period."


Commerce ordered U.S. Customs and Border Protection to suspend liquidation of merchandise covered under the investigation shipped after Aug. 25. If the ITC seconds the critical circumstances finding, any anti-dumping duties issued under a final determination will be applied retroactively to the shipments.


Representatives for the Vietnam Embassy, Ban Me Thuot and Dak Lak did not respond to requests for comment.


The case is Raw Honey from the Socialist Republic of Vietnam, investigation number A-552-833, before the U.S. Department of Commerce.

Source: Law360

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